ANKARA, March 21 (Reuters) - Twitter users in Turkey reported widespread outages on Friday, hours after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened to shut down the social media platform as he battles a damaging corruption scandal.
Some users trying to open the Twitter.com website were taken to a statement apparently from Turkey’s telecommunications regulator (TIB). The statement cited four court orders as the basis for blocking the site, where some users in recent weeks have posted voice recordings and documents purportedly showing evidence of corruption among Erdogan’s inner circle.
“Twitter, mwitter!,” Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a rally ahead of March 30 local elections late on Thursday, in a phrase translating roughly as “Twitter, schmitter!”.
“We will wipe out all of these,” said Erdogan, who has said the corruption scandal is part of a smear campaign by his political enemies.
Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is,” he said in a characteristically unyielding tone.
His office later said in a statement that Erdogan was referring to what it called Twitter’s failure to implement Turkish court orders seeking the removal of some links and that they may be left with no option but to ban the platform.
“If Twitter officials insist on not implementing court orders and rules of law ... there will be no other option but to prevent access to Twitter to help satisfy our citizens’ grievances,” the statement said. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Orhan Coskun in Ankara and Edwin Chan in San Francisco; Writing by Nick Tattersall in Ankara; Editing by David Gregorio)